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Public-Worker Unions Battle Governors on Benefit Cuts

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- To Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s newly elected Republican governor, public employees are the haves and taxpayers the have-nots. Halfway across the U.S., Jerry Brown, California’s Democratic governor, wants unpaid days off for some state workers to cut labor costs.

Facing attacks from deficit-slashing officials on both ends of the political spectrum, government employees are fighting back. In Ohio, hundreds held a candlelight vigil in Cincinnati Jan. 14 to protest Republican Governor John Kasich’s plan to bar state health and child-care workers from joining labor groups. Nationally, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees plans rallies, phone banks and lobbying at about a dozen legislatures to counter what unions call an assault on recession-weary working people.